Christmas season turns into Epiphany festivities, continuing until Candlemas day, February 2. I’ve been looking at some items received during Christmastide. Oh! The Snowman! Here’s the story:
While locking up the chalice in the sacristy after Holy Mass I heard raucous laughter out in the church as well as my own name. Knowing that curiosity killed the cat, I went instead to the back sacristy to take off the Mass vestments, with prayers of thanksgiving. Alas, the laughter followed and I was presented with what is pictured above, but I didn’t read it, instead offering thanks and Christmas blessings, and putting all this in the cargo pocket of my 5.11 shirt. So, I was simply told forthwith that what was said on the note is true, but not really, but, yes, really. I needed a bit of humility, and, hahaha. Fair enough, thought I.
And then that was followed by another visit to that back sacristy and I was asked if I had seen the note. I said no. And I was told that what was said on the note is true, really, but not really, but, yes, really. I needed a bit of humility, and, hahaha. Yikes! thought I. Being shy, or lacking in all humility, I escaped, jumping in Sassy the Subaru and, only when safely a couple of miles down the road, a glance at the note was taken, and, of course, there was laughing out loud. I have the best parish in the world.
Don’t think I haven’t ever been in the habit of reading the Roman Martyrology daily. With that in mind…
Proclamation of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ:
THE TWENTY-FIFTH DAY OF DECEMBER:
when ages beyond number had run their course from the creation of the world, when God in the beginning created heaven and earth, and formed man in his own likeness;
when century upon century had passed since the Almighty set His bow in the clouds after the great flood as a sign of covenant and peace;
in the twenty-first century since Abraham, our Father in Faith, came out of Ur of the Chaldees;
in the thirteenth century since the people of Israel were led by Moses in the exodus from Egypt;
around the thousandth year since David was anointed king;
in the sixty-fifth week of the prophecy of Daniel;
in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad;
in the year seven hundred and fifty-two since the foundation of the city of Rome;
in the forty-second year in the reign of Caesar Octavian Augustus…
… the whole world being at peace…
Jesus Christ, eternal God and Son of the Eternal Father, desiring to consecrate the world by His most loving presence, was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
and when nine months had passed since His conception, was born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem of Judah,
and was made man…
THE NATIVITY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST ACCORDING TO THE FLESH.
/// That’s nice Styrofoam. All true. But lies are cloaked in truth, right? Lies can come about through telling part of the truth, looking fulsome, but actually omitting, well, really, pretty much everything, but – Hey! – leaving people with nice feelings! “Jesus is nice and even as maybe perhaps as important as Caesar ’cause He’s mentioned along with Caesar! That’s nice!
I suppose people will think I’m a shallow heretic and a dullard in that I can’t appreciate the intervention of the Word Incarnate in human history at just the right time, and that that’s the point of the Roman Martyrology’s account, and that not everything can always and in every way say everything and therefore I should just cool my jets and appreciate what is presented for what it’s worth and just get over it. After all, there are words like “covenant” and “consecrate” and stuff like that there. And tinkeritis must be avoided at all costs, even regarding some rather ill phrased matters about our salvation, because, you know, we’re used to it. But even the intensely devout are not assisted in their faith by such words as “covenant” and “consecrate” when other words are purposely omitted by self-congratulatory intelligentia who do know more but are too smug to JUST SAY WHAT WE NEED TO HEAR.
I’m an equal opportunity disdainer of tender snowflake dumbing down wherever I find it, whether after or even before Vatican II. And anyway, what dullard made Vatican II the absolute center of human history, replacing the Incarnate Word? Sounds blasphemous to me, and also ignorant. I mean, most heresies came about before Vatican II and most were presented in – oooo! – Latin!!! Now that I’ve successfully made people angry, let’s make the point (I only mention here a couple of possible tweakings):
What if we were to have a Roman Martyrology that actually presented the faith?
What if the history of the proclamation were to mention – even if only in just a few words – the vicious sin of Adam bringing death and hellish mayhem into the world, handing us over to Satan?
What if we were to speak of, say, the binding of the son of Abraham to the wood of the sacrifice as prefiguring of the Redeemer’s violent death to come?
What if we were to recount the unworthiness of David to have a future Son that would save us from our unworthiness, saving us from… wait for it… SIN?
What if we were to speak of the lust for violent power of now secular leaders?
What if we were to say that – I mean, it pains me to say this as it should be obvious – what if we were to say that it is precisely because THE WHOLE WORLD WAS NOT AT PEACE that the Prince of the Most Profound Peace came to save us from that state of NOT being at peace?
What if we were to tell the truth for once, that there is sin and the Jesus was born to redeem us, save us from sin, that He was born to die and then rise to bring us to life, to the eternal life we did NOT have?
/// I can just hear it now, you know, all the condemnations:
We’ve done just fine with being dumbed down, with escaping reality! Stop trying to evangelize us! We’re nice with what we’ve always had! Leave. Us. Alone.
And then: You’re a heretic for trying to say that what we’ve always had isn’t quite up to what it should be! Stop it!
And then again: Wait? What? You’re attacking the Martyrology? It’s TRADITIONAL!
Meanwhile, do you know who wasn’t so taken with being clever with dumbed down religious and secular history? The angels knew: it was certain little shepherd boys. And, I have to say, this donkey-priest just loves this:
This ultra-short film is a 1968 Disney animated presentation, which has much more sense, much more faith than the Roman Martyrology. Listen to the narrator. If you didn’t catch it, little Aaron is repentant of his own SIN of hatred (after the horrific non-peaceful violence that took place in his own life), SIN representing the eons of SIN and hatred that sets the backdrop for Jesus to come into this world so as to save us from SIN, He, Jesus, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Prince of the Most Profound Peace, who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire, yes, that little Babe in the manger. The faith isn’t about our sense – our feelings – of security with the way we’ve always had mere stuff like a book. The faith is about the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God’s Divine Son Jesus saving us from a world which was being up to anything except for peace. Obvious, right? Nope. We have to say it: Jesus is the One; Jesus as the only One saving us from sin.
♬ Pah-rum-pa-pum-pum. ♬
//////// UPDATE: So, I put this post up every year untouched, but this year is different. I’m now years older. I’m now much more ironic and sarcastic than I’ve ever been, I hope not for evil, I hope in a manner at least somewhat reminiscent of Belloc and Chesterton, of Jerome and Augustine. That’s what I strive for.
What this means is that I cannot but reappraise that which I’ve written in the past. For instance, this entry in the martyrological entry about the Nativity of the Lord in historical context being stunningly incomplete. I still agree with that, and I still think we are all too weak to get by on a purposed omission. However, I take back my rather severe judgment on the author and tweakers of this entry. The guy writing this is surely a monk a bit bereft of the weakness of the common man on the street just needing to hear it like it is, giving us WAY too much credit for being able to recognize what he is up to, giving us WAY too much credit for being able to give him credit for what he is actually doing. Here’s perhaps the best way to understand what this guy is up to, what the Church is up to in providing us such an entry into the Martyrology:
This guy knows he is leaving out everything important. He knows we’re going to be scandalized by this. He’s giving us credit for questioning what’s going on. He’s giving us credit for having some intelligence. Most of all, he’s presenting all this in such manner that the only ones who are going to understand (and this is a confession) are those who have been as penitential and ascetic as he has been in the penitential time of Advent, so that with purity of heart, agility of soul, clarity of vision, profundity of understanding we will instantly see and rejoice – totally laughing out loud – at his almost vicious sarcasm: Yeah, sure, the whole world being at peace. What a crock of B.S. Oh, wait! Look at the world agreeing with all the violence of that fake-peace! OH! He’s being sarcastic just like the prophets of old, just like John the Baptist, just like Jesus, the Prince of the Most Profound Peace who was born at a time, like all times in this dark world, a time of extreme violence. Hahahahahaha! Finally, someone who get’s it! someone who mocks the idiot world! someone who’s joyful to see the Babe who takes us so seriously as to lay down His life for us, being born to be tortured to death for us in all the fake-peace we proclaim. Hah! I’m happy to be able to at least start to begin to appreciate the irony and sarcasm as the writer and tweakers of this great entry in the Martyrology for the Nativity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
For his homily on Epiphany, Pope Francis spewed words of disdain for those who believe and worship as the Church has always believed and worshipped, and reductively characterized the magi as those we should imitate in their vacuous desire (in Francis’ mind) for all that is new New NEW NEW! NEW!!! (here). I was going to fisk that out, but it’s all too depressing.
Instead, I’d like to share with you what happened to me, yesterday, January 7, the day after Epiphany. This event took place as I read the Gospel “toward the North”, as they say. The Mass prayers and readings were those of Epiphany. The Gospel was that of the magi falling down in adoration of the Christ Child, offering their gifts.
Firstly, note that whenever I begin Holy Mass, I don’t know what I’m going to preach about. I like to be available to the Holy Spirit even though Pope Francis declares that this would have to be impossible for me, offering the Ancient Rite as I do. Perhaps my lack of preparation is presumption, laziness, careless neglect, even sinful. Certainly my parishioners tell me frequently enough that I’m never at a loss for words, never an unspoken thought kind of thing. But throughout the day before Mass I am in a state of begging the Holy Spirit to instruct me as I preach. I know that I myself have nothing to say, no matter how much I might prepare. I am nothing. I must, as it were, give the mic to the Holy Spirit. I hope that is not blasphemy. Obviously, I am inept at everything I do. But I hope that sometimes something for some souls will help point them to virtue and truth. So…
Whilst reading the Gospel… it’s like my heart – suddenly, with the words about the magi falling down in adoration – it’s like my heart was actually ripped from my chest and it was everything I could do not to fall to my knees. But then, right then, right there, there was a rubric written out right in the very text of the Gospel that the priest reading the Gospel is to fall to his knees in adoration with the magi!
I did so, so happy to have some seconds to recover after my heart was ripped out of my chest. Rising again, I didn’t want to make a spectacle of myself. I forced myself to continue reading. My voice faltered. I got choked up, I teared up. I was, despite the words of Pope Francis against priests who offer the Ancient Rite of Holy Mass… I was “surprised by the Holy Spirit.” And now I knew what I was going to preach about, namely, what happened to the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh brought by the magi.
I wasn’t there with the magi. I don’t know what happened to their gifts. I’m just telling you my ♬ experience ♬ my feelings ♬
When I say that it was like my heart was ripped out of me, what I’m trying to say is that my veiled eyes were less veiled, my heart was made less dull. I was convicted, as it’s said, by the Holy Spirit. I knew myself to be so unworthy to be in the presence of these great men and the total solidarity they had with the Holy Family. But I wasn’t concentrating on myself. It was all about their urgency to adore the Christ Child and then the dire straits they were in to provide those gifts to be used for the members of the Body of Christ, the boys who would be slaughtered in place of Jesus.
Here’s the deal. I think these wise men were Jews descended from Jews who stayed behind in Babylon after the Cyrus sent the Jews back to Jerusalem. I think these wise men knew all the prophesies about the Messiah, the Suffering Servant, the Lamb of God who will save His people and the whole world from sin, the Redeemer, the Savior, the Son of God.
Their gifts mirrored everything in the Jewish Scriptures, that the Divine Christ was to be Priest, Prophet and King. You can categorize all the Scriptures into those three categories. Gold is for the only King who would always be eager to provide for His subjects, Frankincense is for the Priest who would Himself be the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, myrrh is for a Prophet who would be killed for speaking Truth and should therefore have his body packed with myrrh for burial. But wait. No. He might die, but He was to rise from the dead. So… wait… what?
They already knew the Child King was to be born in Bethlehem, but purposely went out of their way to shake up filthy, wretched, demonic, murderous King Herod, and all the rest of Jerusalem with him. These wise men already knew that they themselves should be killed by Herod for speaking of this new King. They already knew that Herod would want to kill the Child King, a rival King incomparably greater than him. But they knew Herod could never do such a thing. They fully believed it would have to be the babe Himself who would later lay down His life for His people, for the whole world. They were just provoking Herod and all the people on purpose, so that the event wouldn’t go by unnoticed even from the beginning. I love that.
And the gifts? They brought them knowing what would have to happen regardless of whether they provoked Herod and all Jerusalem with him. No matter what, it would soon be known that the Messiah was now born as the one and only King of the Jews. Herod would still try to kill Jesus, the Savior. Herod would still try to kill all the infant boys two years old or under. They knew that before they even started their journey.
Their gifts were brought, it seems to me, for the Holy Family to give to the families of those whose boys would die for Jesus. Those boys wouldn’t grow up to provide for their families, for their then elderly parents, but those families would now have gold to provide for themselves as they became older. The families of the boys being slaughtered by Herod would, unlike Jesus in future times, need the myrrh for packing around the corpses of those infant boys for their burial. The families of the boys, shaken by these events, would offer that frankincense in honor of Jesus who had been among them, in honor of the prayers of the lives of the infants slaughtered for Jesus. Joseph received a dream from an angel about the impending slaughter: “Take the child and His mother and flee to Egypt! Do it! Do it now!” What are they going to do with gold too heavy, frankincense too abundant, myrrh for a day so long in the future when it would not be used by Mary anyway (for she knew her Son would rise from the dead and she would not be at the tomb with Mary of Magdala early Sunday morning). The Holy Family didn’t have caravans of camels, but only a donkey for Mary and her newborn.
But Francis decries such an experience as impossible to the priest who offers the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, of Jesus, in the Ancient Rite. We priests must be rejecting the surprises of the Holy Spirit. We cannot be convicted by the Holy Spirit.
Pope Francis, you are wrong. Why limit the Holy Spirit? Be surprised that the Holy Spirit can also enliven the heart and soul of a wretch like me even whilst offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the Ancient Rite. I am a sinner, a terrible sinner. But the Holy Spirit is more powerful than I am. I hope, Pope Francis, that you do not doubt that the Holy Spirit can work even with me, wretch that I am.
Be joyful, Pope Francis.
I can’t help myself. It’s just my ♬ feelings ♬ again. But this comes to mind about the rhetoric of Francis when he prejudicially lumps together all those who offer and assist at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the Ancient Rite:
Miss McCarthy replied that Lillian Hellman was “a bad writer, overrated, a dishonest writer.” When Mr. Cavett asked what was “dishonest” about Miss Hellman, Miss McCarthy answered, “Everything.” Miss McCarthy continued, “I once said in an interview that every word she writes is a lie, including ‘and’ and ‘the.'”
Does that sound like I’m criticizing Pope Francis? Yes, I suppose it does. Does he deserve it for the good of his own soul? Yes, I suppose he does. You know, Galatians 2:11 and all that. Be of good heart.
At Holy Redeemer, above. Mary and Joseph are happy to have their guard-donkey close at hand.
Below, at Prince of Peace, the guard-donkey keeps a close eye on early morning traffic. Great situational awareness.
Joseph’s Donkey by Anthony DeStefano and Juliana Kolesova. It made me teary eyed, especially the conclusion, entering into heaven. Thanks to Anthony and Juliana’s touching illustrations.
The wood of the manger, it is said, was used for the cross of our salvation. I wonder if we could get a relic of the cross for our altar of that Sacrifice, where Jesus is to be found. Such extremely tiny slivers were put into pectoral crosses. No longer, of course.
Holy Redeemer above, Prince of Peace below.
Thank you, Jesus, for being borne amongst us from the Virgin Mary, so that we might, please our Heavenly Father, be borne into heaven where we might thank you and dearest Immaculate Mary again.
Seen outside of Holy Redeemer Catholic Church here in Andrews, NC. I’m lobbying Pope Francis to let me make this the Christmas presentation in Saint Peter’s Square next year. Of course, you gotta know that I’ll be adding a bull and a donkey.
As mentioned in a previous post, no Masses at the Church for various and sundry reasons. Grrr. However, Mass in the rectory chapel very much makes me feel like the donkey-priest near the manger in the cave, you know, hidden with Christ in God.
Meanwhile, a water main break in town. Meanwhile, the arsonist is back at it with some houses going up in flames over the past weeks, and, yes, just the other day. Proven as arson. Meanwhile, a gunshot after midnight last night, Christmas night, in back of the neighborhood, and then a very loud truck racing away.
Jesus came among us useless and violent lot because God loved the world so much that He sent His only begotten Son among us, His Eternal Word now Incarnate of the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God. We sing with the angels: Glory to God in the Highest!
These pictures were taken hours before Christmas Night Mass of the Lord’s Birth was to be celebrated. But instead, when I should otherwise have been up at church turning up the heat and getting the altar ready it started snowing a dripping wet, heavy blanket freezing more than it was with precipitously precipitating temps rushing down from near 50ﾟabove zero to a predicted 10ﾟabove zero Fahrenheit. So, lots of danger, lots of black ice, crusty ice, crystalline ice, slippery ice… I’m thinking of the elderly of the parish…
I’m from Minnesota, and this bit of snow and freezing rain and ice wouldn’t have stopped me one bit, but the driveway to the church is as steep as a staircase and there’s zero chance anyone could drive or walk up, even on the actual staircase next to the driveway without crashes and broken legs. The “blizzard” of inches!
Even worse, WNC is suffering an “outbreak” of “cases” of China Virus among some super-service oriented people, also among my parishioners, who are everywhere with everyone in WNC all the time, and they are down with Covid. To give an example of what I mean by super-service oriented: one is a FedEx driver. And there are way too many all at once, also amongst parishioners coming here also from surrounding counties and surrounding states. So, to be prudent – for once – we’re locked down. This could drag on into the new year as people go through their imposed or self-imposed quarantines.
I myself was tested way back, also with our Police Force (I went down with the Chief of the Day®). All told, if I remember correctly, three brain-swab tests over time, all negative. No brains I guess. Anyway, the head of the county health invited me to come back the next day to get the antibody test which was being delivered. But then she said she changed her mind and wasn’t going to do it. Her decision was based, she said, on the fact, she said, that the antibody test is not at all accurate. I tried to get tested the other day, but was turned away again, this time in another county. They did the test for others ahead in the line but when it came to me, they said no, as I described what services I was providing up at the jail and getting groceries for the elderly-co-morbidities people, saying I just wanted to be prudent. No. Rejected for testing. That kinda makes me wonder what it’s all about… as it seems they don’t want to take service oriented people out of the community. I tried, right?
But then the storm. The great fear expressed by many. That caught me unexpectedly. So, no Mass as no one, I was told, were going to come. Sigh. Anyway, absolutely Confessions, Last Rites, etc., will go on. No fear with yours truly. But the numbers of cases are a bit freaky round about the town and the local counties. We do our best. Hopefully things will be back to completely normal in a week or two.
The Day Off started last Saturday with phone calls coming in over other calls all in the middle of The-Priest-Sprint® that runs, so to speak, from about 4:00 AM Saturday morning until Sunday night when I collapse, having gotten up at 2:00 AM on Sunday. Those calls were weighing on me when texts came in with a request that would require bilocation all day on the Day Off. But I ain’t no Padre Pio. Ain’t gonna happen. I had to put that off for another Day Off, having found out that I had already been volunteered by higher-ups to make an intervention that would clock something between 500 and 600 miles on Sassy the Subaru on the Day Off. I haven’t yet recovered from that, with yet more phone calls requiring follow-ups for analogous situations. The Day Off started at 1:45 AM and didn’t stop until something like just before 10:00 PM.
The days are running together with The-Priest-Sprint® continuing more than just the weekend. Time runs together, melts into one time when past is future, future is past, a blur in the midst of the present. All a bit surreal. But then, the good Lord holds all time in His hands as just another creation of His. He was born in time that we might be borne up through, with and in Him into eternity. He was born to die that we might live. He was born upon the wood of the manger that when He would be lifted up on the wood of the cross He might, as He said, draw all to Himself, to heaven, but, on Calvary, right through all of hell broken out. He conquered the violence of Herod at His birth in Bethlehem. He conquered the violence of hell at our birth to life on Calvary. The disparateness of time is brought together in His Heart. And it is with His Heart that we find the Immaculate Heart of His dear Immaculate Virgin Mother. Thank you Jesus. Thank you Mary.
… when you’re growing as long in the ears as you are long in the tooth.
… [add a comment to add your own ending!]
This is put up in honor to Father Gordon MacRae, who, setting such a good example under impossible circumstances, keeps up his good humor. It’s so important to keep up with good humor under the impossible circumstances we’re all in. The first example is from Father Gordon. I added the second, because donkeys are always with the Holy Family, right from the start in Bethlehem.
The Light of the Nations marches on. Day five of Hanukkah.
Our Lady of Guadalupe is safely back in the shrine on the hill up behind the church after the procession the other day. And inside the church Our Lady of Fatima has taken her place:
Maybe this is what the U.S. Census Bureau meant by priests “keeping” women in their rectories!
Hey! On that note, I really should have told them about Jesus residing with me as well, in the Tabernacle, a mighty small room, but He’s here with me!
Meanwhile, this was texted to me:
Don’t be mad at the priest for sitting down. He might have gotten his leg blown off, or his other arm torn out. But we still want to put in an altar rail to make reception of Holy Communion, of the Light of the World, a bit easier. Jesus is the Light of the World, and Mary is the Arc of the Covenant.
Dear Pope Francis, why not next year put me, your Missionary of Mercy, in charge of the Christmas creche in front of the obelisk? Yes. Do it.
My idea for Christmas 2021? A life-size = relatively tiny crib scene, a small manger, smaller than the width of the obelisk, all respectful of the Word Incarnate, of His dear, humble Immaculate Virgin Mother, of quiet Saint Joseph, a few shepherds, a joyful angel. That’s it. Donate the money for the overly ostentatious tree to, say, small parish churches like mine, you know, for the installation of altar rails, of a real altar. Seriously.
Jesus came to us, to these peripheries, with humility, in the quiet of the night, a Light in the darkness. Tiny. Humble. Good and kind. The Living Truth. That’s not just the symbol, the message. Let’s point all to Jesus, to the manner in which He chose to come among us.
The front window of the tiny rectory is progressing, provoking compliments from pious souls and condemnation from across the spectrum.
Firstly, a word about manure:
Et a verbis viri peccatoris ne timueritis, quia gloria ejus stercus et vermis est: (1Ma 2:62) Don’t be afraid of the words of sinful men, for their glory is manure and worms.
There’s plenty of such manure and worms, because that’s what we all turn into: dust to dust and all that. Without God’s grace, we’re nothing but s#|+. Truth!
When the Jewish Messiah (and therefore ours) was born, it was in a cave loaded up, of course, with the manure of bulls and donkeys and sheep.
When the Immaculate Conception appeared to snarky Saint Bernadette, it was in the cave, the grotto, of Lourdes, which, even worse, was filled with the manure of pigs. Ever smell that, even from miles away?
In the picture above, the statues of Mary and Saint Anthony of Padua with baby Jesus are overseeing two flower boxes which, right now, are simply full of manure. Too much. The flowers didn’t take. My bad.
Secondly, about the haters:
At the furthest edge of the spectrum on the left are those who say that all that which is Jewish has absolutely nothing to do with anything Catholic, so that Jesus is not the Jewish Messiah. That would invalidate Jesus being the Son of David, thus invalidating the presentation in the rectory window. They say this to be politically correct with our Jewish brethren but lock them out in their own minds from the redemption wrought by Jesus.
At the furthest edge of the spectrum on the right are those who say that all that which is Jewish has absolutely nothing to do with anything Catholic, so that Jesus is not the Jewish Messiah. That would invalidate Jesus being the Son of David, thus invalidating the presentation in the rectory window. They say this to be politically correct with anti-Jewish idiots, happy to lock them out in their own minds from the redemption wrought by Jesus.
Opposites attract. Idiots attract. The two extremes are merely in reaction to each other, having nothing to do with the Living Truth. The two extremes are like the poles of a broken gyroscope wildly flipping spinning out of control, not with the Truth being the mean between the two, but flying apart from the Truth, only concerned about each other. But Crux stat dum volvitur orbis. The Cross remains steadfast while the world hopelessly spins itself into a vertigoed vortex.
Meanwhile, there is le père Réginald Marie Garrigou-Lagrange OP, commenting in his tome on Faith, summarizing the entirety of the works of Saint Thomas Aquinas regarding the Common Doctor’s struggle in understanding the oneness, the univocality of the Judeo-Catholic Religion, with Thomas landing finally on the presentation that all that which is Jewish is all that which is Catholic, though, of course, with the chosen people looking forward to receiving Jesus, the Messiah, the Suffering Servant, and the Catholics being those who have received Jesus, whether being of Jewish lineage or from among the Gentiles.
This refers to the radical univocality of Sacred Tradition, that supernatural faith received by any individual always in the same way with the same content of that supernatural faith. There is a down to earth pedagogy for human brains to be led to assent to that which is supernatural, i.e., through the conscience. Thomas himself comments on this at great length, distinguishing between that which is supernatural faith and that which has been touched by a necessary exercise in theology on our part.
Jesus, the ever proclaimed Son of David, said it best: “Salvation is from the Jews.”
I’ll just keep my window up and let the extremists otherwise ignore Jesus and attack each other, throwing manure at each other.
After all, Crux stat dum volvitur orbis. I’ll stick with the Cross, a tiny depiction of which you can just make out in the center of the Star of David up top of the window.
Hanukkah 2020 will begin the evening of Thursday, December 10 and will end the evening of Friday, December 18. A Menorah of sorts is ready to go in the window, with a small servant candle at the ready. Some might say that Jewish feasts are forbidden to be celebrated. But is God’s honoring the sacred liturgy in the temple not to itself be honored? Sure, Jesus, and we with Him, are the new Temple built of living stones, as the Holy Spirit indicates. Yes. But I think it is just fine to rejoice with God’s rejoicing with the miracle of lights. Yes. Jesus, the Temple Himself, ferociously objected to the abuse of the temple built of mere physical stones.
You don’t have to light a Menorah, but don’t condemn me lighting one up either. You wouldn’t want Jesus to take the whip of cords to your back end, would you? No, really, you wouldn’t. :-)
But I can already hear the spluttering about how I’m a heretic saying that I’m saying that the former covenants are themselves salvific apart from Jesus. No. I didn’t say that. I insist that all former covenants looked forward to the new and eternal covenant in the Blood of the Lamb. There is not one former covenant which was stuck on itself apart from the Messiah to come. Get it? We honor the Jews with great love by inviting them to learn more about Jesus, Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, that great Woman of Genesis 3:15 in her battle over against the Serpent, the Dragon of old, Satan. Yes. Let’s help introduce our Jewish friends to Mary’s Son, Jesus, for Salvation is aleady from the Jews.
I’m a bit rough on Saint Paul VI, who gave an address in Nazareth on 5 January 1964 in which he spoke wonderfully about the Holy Family. Perhaps I’m jaded, but I thought it was too sweet about the Holy Family, too nice, too peaceful, too calm, too silent, so contemplative, so prayerful. I’m sure he meant all that in an innocuous manner. But whatever his good and holy intentions, well, I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all. I make that really quite clear.
Also, when I get on a rant like this, all worked up, I might make brave in attributing things to those to whom they don’t belong. I don’t know if it was in this particular recorded homily or another the same day in which I attributed the phrase “field hospital” not only to Pope Francis but also perhaps to Saint John Paul II, et al. Sorry about that. Don’t get stuck on that kind of thing. I’m getting older. Forgive me. The point is about holiness embracing chaos for holiness’ sake, you know, like Jesus stretching out His arms to embrace us… on the cross… And this chaos started at His birth and never stopped…
Paul VI did, of course, make plenty of great points about the spiritual life and the correct priorities in life we should all have. I agree with all those. But still, it set me into rant mode. Here’s that address of Paul VI. You might want to read over it before listening to the homily. Perhaps I go into rant mode because Paul VI, a saint, flies right over my head and I just don’t get what he’s on about.
From an address by Saint Paul VI, pope
(Nazareth, January 5, 1964) Nazareth, a model
Nazareth is a kind of school where we may begin to discover what Christ’s life was like and even to understand his Gospel. Here we can observe and ponder Continue reading →
But that admission was just to set me off guard and give me a false sense of confidence, as I was then immediately countered by… this other dish towel above.
There is also an entirely good explanation for the flabbergastery bluster going on here. This has nothing to do with any assertion that you could never find anywhere in the entire world a wise man, much less three of them, and at the same time and place. No.
This is all about there being only three wise men of all the uncountable wise men in all the world who showed up. Only three?!!!? Yes, but there is also an explanation for that. All the other wise men are busy trying to teach all the women folk how to be wise…
[[ I can see that this is not going anywhere good anywhere fast… How do I get out of this?… I haven’t been very wise… ]]
I was at the door of a parishioner’s house last evening, and was very taken by this Christmas scene that had been tacked up there. So joyful. So peaceful. I note that all the animals, including the donkey, have their ears back, listening for any danger that might disturb their Almighty Creator so humbly come among us. The donkey is a professional at this. All donkeys are Guard-Donkeys. Oh, by the way, I was the donkey at the door. If you look closely, you’ll see that there are two donkeys pictured in the picture.
This was sent in to Arise! Hmmm… Let’s take a look at that… [The one who sent this in, BTW, has a great sense of humor, and won’t mind a bit that I’m fisking this dish cloth hanging in front of the stove. What I say, although incisive, will I hope, also bring about a wee laugh.]
Three Wise Women would have ignored the guiding star instead asking directions to a place they had no idea where it was and so couldn’t ask directions and so would get themselves into trouble, at the least being sold into slavery…
Three Wise Women, in ignoring the star and so arriving in what they themselves think is on time – they being so wise – would have instead messed up the divine providence of the timing so that Herod would have been successful in killing Jesus with all the boys of Bethlehem two years old and under…
Three Wise Women would have tried to help the deliver the baby, which, instead of being born in the normal way, had a miraculous birth, much like how Jesus Himself walked right through the closed and locked doors of the Upper Room after the Resurrection, and this would have made them upset, because, you know, they came all that way…
Because of being upset with the miraculous birth, the three Wise Women would have ignored the moment and purposely busied themselves with the feces of the animals, because that’s the most important thing at the moment. We should call to mind that when Jesus’ good mom appeared to Bernadette in Lourdes, it was in the cave filled with pig-feces, symbolic of what was going on in Lourdes at the time. Mary is used to humble circumstances, and in being in solidarity with us, even standing under the Cross in all the violence, in the … feces of our sins.
Three Wise Women would have made a casserole, ignoring Hebrew dietary laws but bullying their way along, making everyone sad…
Three Wise Women wouldn’t realize the most practical thing in the world is to pray, not doing the Martha thing running about in frantic mode, but doing the Mary thing, at the feet of Jesus, in this case listening to His baby cooing.
Instead of gold for a king as a symbol of His good providence in governance for the poor ones of His little flock, the three Wise Women would have started a much more practical interest-bearing bank account, perhaps with Herod. Who else?
Instead of frankincense for The Priest as a symbol of how He would offer Himself in sacrifice for us, the Innocent for guilty, and so having the right in His own justice to have mercy on us, the three Wise Women would have given him Febreze™ Plug In Scents to suffocate the smells of the cave.
Instead of Myrrh used for the burial of a corpse – such as Jesus would surely be in speaking the Truth and thus being killed off like any prophet – the three Wise Women would have gifted Him normal spices that they could mix up in the casserole they themselves would eat.
And all this – let us be most clear – NOT because they are women, but because these three individual women would proclaim themselves as being wise (which the three kings never did), ending up, in their lack of wisdom, rejecting the entire economy of salvation to put themselves in front of everyone, drawing attention to themselves, you know, all in the name of Feminism, which brings the peace of a mere lack of war, what with everyone being dead already, instead of the sword of division which Jesus in His perfect wisdom came to bring, a sword of truth which instead brings us to reality, to repentance, to forgiveness, and therefore to love and respect for others, unto truth and the joy of the Holy Spirit, and therefore unto the true peace of Heaven. Jesus is the Prince of the Most Profound Peace. I’ll stick with His ways so far above the ways of any of us who think we are wise. We have all sinned against Him whom we have all pierced. We have all thought ourselves to be wise… So… Jesus is the One. He’s the only One.
Having said all that, I have to say that that dish towel perfectly sums up the Benedictine sisters I had for teachers when I was kid, that is, after 1968 and into the early 1970s. Yikes!